Did Israel create Hamas to counter Yasser Arafat?

Did Israel create Hamas to counter Yasser Arafat?

The formation of Hamas was “actually an Israeli plan.”

This claim has been made repeatedly on several occasions in the past. And this claim has been repeated once again following the Hamas attacks on Israel in October last year and the Israeli army’s subsequent ground and air strikes on Gaza that killed thousands of Palestinians.

This claim about the origin of Hamas and its alleged connection with Israel may surprise many, but the truth is that this accusation is very old. A former Palestinian minister raised the issue in an interview with the BBC about a month before the outbreak of the recent war, after which many foreign newspapers and prominent figures on social media repeated the same claim in different words.

In fact, this claim was made publicly decades ago by former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. In addition to this, a Republican senator from the United States Congress spoke about it, while officials from Israel’s security agency ‘Shin Bet’ also pointed it out.

But not only Hamas members, but also senior Israeli officials reject such claims and describe them as “baseless.”

But what is the truth of this claim, on what basis was it raised, and at what point in Hamas’s military history did this suspicion arise?

Hamas formation

It should be noted that the Islamic Resistance Movement or Hamas, created in 1987, did not appear overnight, but had a long history of formation. This process can be divided into two parts:

Part I: The roots of the movement in the Palestinian territories, the first signs of which appeared in the mid-1940s with the establishment of the first Palestinian branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza, the Sheikh Jarrah area of Jerusalem and other cities.

Second part: After the defeat of the Arab countries in the 1967 war, the dissension among the young people of the Muslim Brotherhood with the Arab sheikhs and leaders of this group and the emergence of ideas related to organized military activities among young people.

According to historians, a significant part of the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Palestinian territories were religious, social and informational in nature and focused on the construction of mosques and religious and social institutions. During its activities in the Palestinian territories, the Muslim Brotherhood made it clear that its focus was not on military training but on the intellectual, cultural and spiritual training of Palestinians.

In this context, one of the senior leaders of Hamas, Khalid Meshaal, explains that in the late 1950s and 1960s, communist leaders came to power in Palestine and Islamists faced difficult and stressful situations.

According to Mashal, the presence of Islamists in the region was not welcomed and there were no job opportunities for them.

In the next section of this article, we will discuss the second period of circumstances that led to the formation of Hamas, which refers to the period after 1967 until its formal establishment in 1987.

‘Red Tower’: Signs of ‘Armed War’
It seems that one of the factors that changed the form and methodology of the “struggle with Israel” was the defeat of the Arab countries in the 1967 war.

Ibrahim Ghosha, Hamas’s first spokesman and one of the group’s former leaders, has described the impact of this defeat on the youth of the Muslim Brotherhood in his memoirs called ‘Red Tower’.

Ghosha wrote that Muhammad Abd al-Rahman Khalifa, the coordinator of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, held an Islamic conference at that time, the results of which did not satisfy Ghosha or the youth of that generation, as it clearly stated that “the Palestinians do not The solution for the future and the reasons for not starting the formation of jihadist Islam were not presented.

The book claims that it incited Muslim Brotherhood youth (who wanted to fight against Israel) to start a “reform movement” within the group and to arm themselves without the knowledge of the group’s leaders.

He then secretly agreed with the Al-Fatah Movement to provide military training to young members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan and prepare them for armed operations.

These training exercises began in 1968 and ended in 1970, at the same time as the events of “Black September” in Jordan, because, as Ghosha wrote in his memoirs, the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood had created a “reformist movement” within themselves. They were aware of the existence.

During these periods, the Muslim Brotherhood witnessed intense conflicts and differences between the “traditional leaders” and the “young generation.” The youth pushed for an armed struggle against Israel, while the group’s leaders, the traditional leaders, insisted that “government building” should take priority over war with Israel.

This led some members of the group to leave the group and “form national and armed movements that were ready for armed struggle.” These developments increased pressure on the Muslim Brotherhood, which itself found itself in a vulnerable position due to the dominance of numerous enemies and other Palestinian national and ideological movements.

Hamas created to confront Yasser Arafat

In the 1970s and 1980s, the movement was born of “suspicious links” between Israel and the Islamist leaders of the time.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was one of those who made the accusation and called the Hamas movement an “Israeli creation.”

There is an old video of Mubarak in a meeting with the Egyptian army saying that “Israel created Hamas to work against the PLO organization.” With these words he refers to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), headed by Yasser Arafat.

This accusation was not only made by Hosni Mubarak, but Ron Paul, a former member of the United States House of Representatives, who was also a candidate in the 1988 presidential election, said in the United States Congress in 2009 that “if we go back to history, you know. It may be that Israel wanted to create Hamas to confront Yasser Arafat and he (Israel) helped create it.’

Hassan Asfour, former Palestinian minister and member of the secret Oslo negotiating panel in 1993, told the BBC in September 2023 that ‘Hamas is under an American plan and under an agreement between some Arab countries and Israel of the PLO. was established as a parallel organization.’

We spoke about the matter with Ahmed Jameel Azam, professor of international relations at Qatar University. He says that these accusations are not new and that “the Israelis themselves have played a role in these accusations to fuel claims of internal division among Palestinians.”


Ahmed Jameel Azam spoke to the BBC about Hosni Mubarak’s statements several decades ago that “the Egyptian government’s positions kept changing according to its interests.” And it is possible that the accusations were made because of the Egyptian government’s hostility towards the Muslim Brotherhood. Tension with Hamas. Hosni Mubarak and the president, his informant Omar Suleiman, sometimes had very good relations with Hamas, to the point that they allowed weapons to enter the Gaza Strip.

Hamas’s “haram relations” with Israel can be said to have been attributed to the post-1967 war, when the Muslim Brotherhood ushered in the “mosque era” in the Palestinian territories.

Khaled Haroub wrote in the book ‘Hamas: Political Thought and Practice’ that they were ‘building mosques in these lands, integrating and mobilizing the young generation and incorporating the group’s teachings to resist the Zionists. known focusing on.’

And this movement continued until 1975.

Haroub writes in his book that the Islamists made the most of the opportunity that arose after the 1967 war, because with the defeat of the Arabs in the war with Israel, the nationalist ideology of the Nasserists was severely weakened and a vacuum was created. because it was developed as an alternative to Islamic slogans.

Khalid Haroub writes that “The next organizational phase began in the mid-1970s and continued until the late 1980s. In this phase, Islamic student bodies, clubs, charitable associations and other institutions were formed, which became centers of meeting and discussion between new and young Islamic groups.

‘I was the head of the Shin Bet and I saw how Hamas was formed’
In 1981, the New York Times published an article in which the newspaper spoke with Isaac Segev, the then military governor of Gaza. He told the newspaper that “Islamic fundamentalists receive help from Israel.” The Israeli government has provided me with funds and the military government (which currently administers the Palestinian territories) is helping to build mosques.

According to this article, the purpose of these funds was to strengthen the rival forces of the Palestine Liberation Organization.


In a recent interview on Israeli television, the former head of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency, Yaakov Perry, said: “I was head of the agency from 1988 to 1995. I saw the rise of the Hamas movement and I remember that at that time Our perception was that it was a social movement. It worked to meet the needs of the people. Many Israelis accused the Shin Bet of helping to create the political structure of Hamas as a rival to the Palestine Liberation Organization, but that was not true. .

Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was interviewed on Al Jazeera TV’s ‘Shahid Rozgar’ program in 1999, and revealed that he did not believe Israel had a budget ‘problem’ at the time. In this interview, he confirmed that Israel was paying salaries as an occupying power at the time.

“Israel began paying salaries and pensions to employees who agreed to return to work, first without pay and then with pay,” he added in his interview.

Yassin also said that Israel has paid salaries with the aim of restoring normal life in Gaza after a period of occupation. “I receive 240 Israeli pounds a month for my work as a teacher and

‘Conflicto de intereses no intencionado’
En una entrevista con la BBC, Rani Shaked, investigadora del Instituto Truman de la Universidad Hebrea, dijo que en ese momento los Hermanos Musulmanes no eran considerados una amenaza para Israel.

Shaked, él mismo un oficial del Shin Bet en la década de 1970, dice que Israel nunca ha financiado a grupos islamistas y que su apoyo se ha limitado a emitir permisos, no dinero. fue

Tanto Rani Shaked como Ahmad Azam coinciden en distinguir entre “apoyar” a estos grupos y “hacer la vista gorda” ante sus actividades. Ambos investigadores creen que el hecho de que los grupos islámicos evitaran la confrontación con Israel en realidad llevó a un punto en el que los intereses de ambas partes eran “no intencionados”. Fue aquí donde Israel hizo la vista gorda ante las actividades de estos grupos, y fue este enfoque el que Israel interpretó como un “apoyo” a los Hermanos Musulmanes.

En su libro de 1992, ‘La política de Israel hacia las dotaciones islámicas en Palestina’, el autor británico, Michael Damper, analizó la naturaleza de la relación de Israel con las comunidades islámicas y la cuestión de si Israel construyó mezquitas. Se escribe apoyo financiero o solo la emisión de permisos.

Escribe que una de las primeras acciones del gobernador militar en 1967 fue el nombramiento de un oficial israelí a cargo de los asuntos religiosos en la Franja de Gaza, cuyo trabajo era servir de enlace entre el mando militar y los grupos islámicos y cristianos.

El autor dijo que desde finales del decenio de 1970 hasta mediados del decenio de 1980, Israel expidió permisos para la construcción de mezquitas como contrapeso a la Organización de Liberación de Palestina. Pero no mencionó los vínculos financieros entre los constructores de las mezquitas e Israel.

“Nunca hemos dado ayuda financiera a Hamás”
Los funcionarios israelíes no se han puesto de acuerdo sobre una sola narrativa sobre cómo lidiar con el movimiento durante la expansión de Hamás en la Franja de Gaza. Mientras que algunos ex funcionarios israelíes lamentaron el ‘apoyo y creación de Hamás’.

Un artículo del New York Times de 2009 citaba a Shalom Harari, que era un oficial de inteligencia militar israelí en Gaza en el momento de la formación de Hamás.

Lo citó diciendo: “No apoyamos a Hamás de ninguna manera, e Israel nunca ha armado a Hamás”. Hubo advertencias sobre los islamistas que fueron ignoradas, pero esto se debió a negligencia y previsión, no al deseo de fortalecer la posición de los islamistas.’

El jeque Ahmad Yasin dice sobre este tema que “Israel monitoreaba a las organizaciones islamistas como a todas las demás organizaciones. Y trató de establecer un equilibrio dentro de los sectores sociales. Les permitió a todos desarrollarse a su manera y los mató cuando llegó el momento.

‘El resultado está fuera de control’


Quienes acusan a Israel de crear Hamás señalan específicamente el establecimiento de la “Comunidad Islámica” y la “Asamblea Islámica” en Gaza en los años setenta. Según la narrativa de la Hermandad Musulmana del período del siglo pasado, se formó bajo el “paraguas de las leyes israelíes” y que “sus actividades se limitaban únicamente a aspectos religiosos”.

Dijo que estas instituciones no violaron la ley y no confrontaron al gobierno israelí.

Ahmed Yasin, líder espiritual del movimiento Hamás, dijo en el programa ‘Shaheed Roozar’ que no podíamos ir a la guerra con las fuerzas de ocupación. Y por eso surgió la idea de las instituciones islámicas”. En el año 1976, la oficina de la “Comunidad Islámica” era una habitación en una mezquita. Y su enfoque principal estaba en las actividades deportivas.

Los escritores israelíes Ehud Yari y Zev Sheff escribieron en el libro ‘Intifada’ publicado en 1990 que ‘el gabinete civil israelí jugó un papel importante en la formación del movimiento islámico, que comenzó a crecer con el comienzo de la primera Intifada. Israel utilizó el poder y la influencia en las comunidades locales y estableció varias organizaciones para permitirles reemplazarlas.

Los dos autores israelíes escribieron en su libro que “Israel estaba equivocado acerca de la posibilidad de controlar a los islamistas y utilizar su crecimiento como una oportunidad para reducir la influencia de la Organización de Liberación de Palestina. . Israel finalmente se dio cuenta de su error, pero demasiado tarde”.

One of the former leaders of Hamas, Ibrahim Ghosha, wrote in his memoirs that “It was neither the fault of the Muslim Brotherhood nor of Sheikh Yassin that Israel thought that by allowing the establishment of an ‘Islamic Assembly’ in Gaza, the PLO should “If A balance is created between the secular movement and the religious movement, this will lead to brotherhood. If the Zionists made a mistake in their calculations, they themselves have seen the consequences.”

In ‘Hamas: Its Origins and Political Ideas’, Khaled Abu al-Ammarin says that the Israeli authorities did not allow the Islamic movement to form institutions and organizations, but also allowed various groups to form clubs, associations and unions.

He writes that “In 1980, Israel allowed the Fatah movement to form a youth movement that was active on the political and social scene.”

Abdullah Haruni, author of the book ‘Charitable Associations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip’ published in 1988, says that before the first Intifada in 1987, the number of associations in Gaza had reached 62, of which the Muslim Brotherhood only had four. There were associations, the most important of which were Jamiat-e-Islami and Jamaat-e-Islami.

‘Calculation errors’
Ahmed Jameel Azam, professor of international relations at Qatar University, says Israel has made a strategic and tactical mistake: “There was no clear strategy. Israel has always relied on its military superiority. For example, after the occupation of Gaza in 1967, sought to reach the community through methods such as finding economic opportunities, contacting families who led local communities, and holding local elections. A realistic understanding of the dimensions of the occupation and its consequences has not been achieved. These methods cannot satisfy society as an alternative to resistance to the occupation.’

Rani Shaked, a researcher at the Truman Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told the BBC that despite the fears of Gaza’s military rulers at the time, Gaza’s military governor, Isaac Seghou, had told her that “before the revolution, the Conditions in Gaza were better than those in Tehran.” The similarity of the situation is alarming, and the Israeli government, despite warnings about the threat of a future Islamic movement, did not have a proper understanding of this movement and was hesitant to confront it.’

“Sheikh Ahmed Yassin betrayed Israel and betrayed them by taking a stance against the communists, while he was building a nursery, raising generations and preparing them to resist Israel,” Shaked says. Were.’

This Israeli researcher believes that Israel still believes that eliminating Hamas and creating jobs and economic benefits for Palestinians will lead to stability and security, ‘but this is not true.’ . “If Hamas is destroyed, a new national resistance movement will emerge.”

Point Zero: War with Israel
As Ibrahim Ghousha, Hamas’s first spokesman, wrote in his memoirs, a fundamental change in the way the Muslim Brotherhood fought against Israel came in 1983, when the group held a conference in Jordan and decided that “this organization its members must participate in the fight.” war against Israel. The West Bank and Gaza allow them to begin military training and begin doing so as soon as conditions improve.

A year after this conference, Israel attacked the first military base in the Gaza Strip and arrested all its members under the leadership of Sheikh Yassin. 80 weapons were found in his house, which he had previously purchased and stored in preparation for military action against Israel.

But Yassin was detained for only a few months and was released in 1985 under a major prisoner exchange agreement between Israel and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, which included three Israeli soldiers. he was arrested

At that time, however, the Islamists suffered a severe blow from Israel, especially considering the fact that the armed wing of the movement was still nascent and had begun operations with little experience and limited capabilities. But the movement did not collapse because its ideology was powerful and it was able to revive. Thus resuming military activities and trying to gain experience through trial and error, the military organization “Palestinian Mujahideen” and the security service “Majd” were formed.

But Israel still did not seem to understand the importance of changing its methods of integration and expansion in and out of the Palestinian territories, and because of this the Islamists were able to organize, leading them to eventually reach a point where the formation was announced. the creation of the “Islamic Resistance Movement” along with the public declaration of “armed struggle.”

Hamas began its operations on December 14, 1987, a few days after the start of the first intifada.

While there is no doubt that the history of the Hamas movement is shrouded in ambiguity and lack of evidence in many of its phases, it is a fact that many of the group’s members certainly share the political and social background of the Muslim Brotherhood. Which is attributed to the political and social circumstances and background. And it has begun the formation of the movement in the Palestinian territories.

After all, it may be easy to answer the question of whether Hamas was “created” by Israel, but doing so requires considering the paradox inherent in the question. Israel did not “create” Hamas, but according to researchers such as Rani Shaked and Ahmed Jameel Azam, the complex circumstances surrounding its formation within the Muslim Brotherhood movement over a long period of time, arising from the presence of occupation forces and of the Palestinian government conflict. created a situation that ultimately led to the “creation” of Hamas.

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